Tag:Ohio State Violations
Posted on: October 7, 2011 8:02 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 8:03 pm

More suspensions for the Buckeyes

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The NCAA announced on Friday that four Ohio State football players were to be suspended for accepting improper benefits from boosters. The players are DeVier Posey, Dan Herron, Marcus Hall and Daniel Fellow.

"Ohio State University football student-athlete Devier Posey must sit five games and repay benefits after receiving approximately $720 from a booster for work not performed, according to a decision today by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff," said the statement on the NCAA website. "Posey also accepted approximately $100 in golf fees from another individual, which is a preferential treatment violation.

"Three additional Ohio State football student-athletes – Marcus Hall, Melvin Fellows and Daniel Herron – will miss one game and must repay benefits after receiving pay for work not performed from the booster. Herron and Fellows both accepted approximately $290 in excess pay while Hall received $230 in overpayment. In its decision, the staff noted the overpayment occurred over an extended period of time."

As you'll likely recall, both Posey and Herron were already serving suspensions due to benefits they already received, including free tattoos, that caused Ohio State to vacate its entire 2010 season. These new suspensions will be added on to those old suspensions, so for DeVier Posey, that means he'll be forced to sit out 10 of Ohio State's 12 regular season games this year.

"This penalty is harsh considering the nature of the violation and the five game suspension already served by this student athlete," said Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith regarding Posey's latest suspension.

He's right, too, the penalty is harsh, but that's what happens when you're a repeat offender: the punishment gets worse. You'd think the poster child for compliance would know that.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:34 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 5:13 pm

Ohio State won't be hit with failure to monitor

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ohio State got some good news on Friday when the NCAA announced that it had not found any new violations to charge Ohio State with, and would not be hitting the school with a "failure to monitor" charge. From the report in the Columbus Dispatch:
The NCAA has notified Ohio State University that it will not face charges of failing to appropriately monitor its football team as part of a memorabilia-sales scandal that brought down former Coach Jim Tressel.

The NCAA has not uncovered any new, unreported violations during its investigation and agrees with Ohio State that Tressel was the only university official aware of violations by his players and that he failed to report them.

"Other than (two redacted player names) and (Ted) Sarniak, there is no indication that Tressel provided or discussed the information he received ... with anyone else, particularly athletics administrators," the NCAA reported in an enforcement staff case summary.
The entire case summary can be read here. You can also read all 139 pages of the NCAA's interview with Jim Tressel here

What does this mean for Ohio State? Well, no school has ever received a postseason or television ban without being hit with the "failure to monitor" charge, and the odds of Ohio State facing such a punishment are now essentially non-existent. This also means that the blame for the entire situation will continue to lie solely at Jim Tressel's feet, and since he's already stepped down as head coach at Ohio State, the rest of the school's athletic department can sleep soundly tonight and in the future.

This news all comes after a report was released by a Columbus-area television station earlier on Friday afternoon saying that Tressel had told the NCAA he informed others at Ohio State about the transgressions of his players in December of 2010. A full month before Ohio State claims it came upon any information regarding the case.

Ohio State "categorically" denied the report, and with this latest announcement from the NCAA, it seems the NCAA felt the same way.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 4:09 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 4:19 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

By Jerry Hinnen and Tom Fornelli

Jerry Hinnen and Tom Fornelli of the Eye On College Football blog discuss Ohio State's decision to vacate wins from the 2010 season and the bus it has decided to drive over Jim Tressel.

Jerry Hinnen: The first question that comes to mind reading the Ohio State response to the NCAA is this, Tom: what part is most laughable? I feel like we've got so many options here. 

Tom Fornelli: Where to begin? There's a lot to mock here.

If anything, I'll just start with the entire concept of vacating wins in the first place. What does that even mean when you really get down to it? The Buckeyes no longer beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl? Well, Arkansas didn't beat Ohio State either. So did the Sugar Bowl just not happen, because I remember watching it. I mean, if you're going to vacate wins, it should just be a symbolic move to make along with other self-imposed sanctions you're making. It should not be the only punishment you're imposing on yourself.

Yeah, according to Ohio State's history books, that win over Arkansas never happened, but are they returning the money they got from the BCS for playing in the game? Nope. I mean, this is like if I were to rob a series of banks, and then one day the police caught me. Then, when they showed up at my door, I just screamed "I'm vacating the robberies! They never happened! Wipe them from the books! Oh, but I'm not giving the money back to the banks I no longer robbed."

It's a joke. 

JH: It is, and it would be a funny one if one of the nation's largest universities and most respected football program's integrity weren't at stake. But for my money, the most jaw-dropping aspect is the school's treatment of Jim Tressel.

On the one hand, the response calls Tressel's actions "embarrassing" and claims he acted alone without any other Buckeye administration member aware of his decisions. Clearly, after the coddling Tressel received from Gordon Gee and Gene Smith in previous press conferences, the school is trying to distance itself from its former coach. He's smeared the institution's good name. He's a pariah. They've forced him to resign (after the part where he'd done it voluntarily).

Or, as it turns out, they've allowed him to retire with benefits, waived a $250,000 fine they'd previously sworn to collect, and paid him an extra $50,000 on top of that. OSU hates Tressel and everything he stands for ... except for the part where they've rewarded him for his loyalty with hundreds of thousands of dollars and a retirement in the school's good graces.

If you're the NCAA, where do you begin to make sense of this? Is there any way to interpret these kinds of actions other than a desperate hope the NCAA will pay attention only to what the response is saying, rather than what the program is actually doing?

TF: As far as the treatment of Tressel is concerned, if I'm the NCAA I'm not buying a single word of it. That is, unless they want to turn a blind eye to reality. How is anybody really supposed to believe that Tressel was doing any of this on his own after the way Ohio State has treated the entire situation?

I don't think paying the guy who you're blaming for everything is the move you make unless you really want him to go along with that stance. Let's be honest, Tressel is the fall guy here and now Gene Smith and Gordon Gee are doing everything they can to save their own behinds. If you think about it, though, no matter how this went down, is Gene Smith somebody who should survive all this?

He either knew about everything and is pretending he didn't -- he's vacating his memory -- or he really knew nothing! How can you argue that you should keep your job as an athletic director of a school when something of this scope is taking place under your very nose without you having a clue?

Ohio State just really doesn't seem to get it, or they're in a deep state of denial. The NCAA isn't going to see that the school has vacated it's wins from last season and move on. There will be scholarships lost, and there will be a postseason bowl ban for a year or two. It's not fair to the players on the team or whichever coach eventually takes over for Tressel, but unfortunately for Ohio State, the NCAA knows that you can't just erase the past and fix things.

JH: We're assuming they do. Since we're discussing the NCAA's Committee on Infractions here, there's no way to know exactly what they're going to do until they do it. Precedents mean nothing and logic is frequently tossed aside like so many babies in so much bathwater.

But if the COI ever wants to be taken seriously, rubber-stamping OSU's self-imposed "punishment" and giving the Buckeyes a pat on the head just can't be an option. Without subpoena power, the only thing standing between the NCAA and utter investigative helplessness is honesty and cooperation from those involved. What it got instead from from OSU was Tressel lying through his teeth with Gee and Smith nodding genially at his side. The NCAA tried to be lenient with the Buckeyes once already--and was repaid with a sham of a Sugar Bowl and a carton's worth of egg on its face for its troubles.

And now OSU wants to pin the entire thing on the coach it enabled at every step (up to and including the pillow-laden step right out the door), expecting the NCAA to look at its meaningless dabbles in the history books and declare "OK, we're cool." Judging from the sledgehammer dropped on USC, I'll be beyond stunned if the NCAA is feeling very cool at all.

TF: Agreed. Any predictions on what the NCAA adds if anything? Personally I'm thinking around 10 scholarships and a two-year postseason ban.

JH: Sounds about right--plus a show-cause order for Tressel. His college football coaching career is over.
Posted on: June 10, 2011 7:29 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 9:14 pm

Report: OSU warned about Talbott in 2007

Posted by Tom Fornelli

According to a report in the Plain Dealer, Ohio State first received a warning about photographer Dennis Talbott as early as 2007. Talbott was recently alleged to have paid Terrelle Pryor anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000 for signed memorabilia. Allegations that Talbott has steadfastly denied. In the latest report it's said that Talbott has been dealing with Ohio State players and signed merchandise for a few years now.

In a March 21, 2007 email to Tressel, which was provided to the Plain Dealer, a source gave the following warning about the alleged online activities of Talbott, a Columbus-based freelance photographer who also is involved in memorabilia sales:

"He has sold over 50 items with underclassmen signatures before their eligibility expires and would seem to be someone that both you and the university is aware of. I have a full report of his eBay activities if you would like to explore further or require documentation."

The email was sent to the account tressel.3@osu.edu. That is the same address that Columbus attorney Chris Cicero used to email Tressel in April of 2010 about OSU players selling memorabilia, an email that Tressel did not disclose to his bosses, an NCAA violation that eventually led to his May 30 resignation.

The Dealer goes on to say that even though Ohio State and Jim Tressel had been warned about Talbott in 2007, that did not stop Talbott from receiving free tickets to eight games in 2008, though the names of the players who left the tickets were redacted from the record.

Ohio State then received a second warning about Talbott in 2009.

The second warning about Talbott to OSU came in the summer of 2009. Two employees of Scioto Reserve Golf Club contacted members of the athletic department after seeing Talbott and Pryor golfing together. One employee said he talked to an Ohio State assistant coach he knew socially, and was told the matter would be taken care of. Another employee, Regan Koivisto, the club's general manager, said he called the football office and detailed his concerns while talking to an administrative assistant.

"I just thought it would be best if the coaching staff was aware, because I'm certain they always had their players' best interests in mind and would want to know," Koivisto told The Plain Dealer.

So you'll begin to notice an alarming trend taking place at Ohio State under Jim Tressel. Tressel would be alerted about potential problems with his players and then do nothing about it. Despite the concerns about Talbott expressed to the school, that didn't stop Ohio State from allowing Talbott to work as a credentialed photographer at home games in 2009.

Obviously, on the surface, Terrelle Pryor playing golf with somebody isn't anything to be alarmed about. But when that person is somebody you've already been warned about in the past when it comes to his relationship with Ohio State players, the fact that Ohio State wouldn't address the issue is mind-boggling.

Posted on: June 10, 2011 12:22 pm

Tressel still has to pay his fine

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Resigning as head coach at Ohio State doesn't mean Jim Tressel will escape the fine the school gave him.

On Thursday Ohio State president Gordon Gee let the world know that Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor weren't the only people who had left the school in recent weeks, saying that the NCAA investigators who were around left Columbus a week ago. Of course, just because the investigators have left, that doesn't mean the investigation is over. As for Jim Tressel, just because he's no longer the head coach of Ohio State, that doesn't men he's allowed to stop paying for his mistakes.

While Tressel is no longer required to meet with the NCAA Committee on Infractions on August 12th, if he hopes to coach again on the college level, it's a move he should make. Still, that's a choice he's allowed to make. A choice he doesn't have, according to Gee, is whether or not he'll pay the $250,000 fine the school originally gave him -- along with the five-game suspension -- in an effort to ease any future punishment from the NCAA. Gee said on Thursday that Tressel will pay the fine, and the school said the details of the payment are still being worked out.

Which is a pretty big dent in Tressel's wallet, especially now that he won't have the regular income as Ohio State's head coach. So even though he won't have to deal with any penalties likely coming Ohio State's way in the future, Tressel will still feel hit in his bank account. 
Posted on: June 2, 2011 6:57 pm

Former Buckeye LB says he was offered a car

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Well what do you know. A post about an Ohio State football player and his car, and the football player isn't Terrelle Pryor. Former Ohio State linebacker Brian Rolle, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in April, says that he was offered a car while he played at Ohio State, but he turned it down. In an appearance on ESPN Radio's All Night on Wednesday night, Rolle told the story to host Jason Smith and the Naples News has the details of the conversation.

“Somebody actually offered me a car and I said no,” Rolle told Smith. “I bought a 2002 VW Jetta in ’09 and someone offered to give me another car, a better car, and cheaper, and being the type of a person I am I said no to it because I wasn’t raised to do something like that.”

Rolle also went on to praise his former coach, Jim Tressel.

“I love the guy, he showed me how to grow from an immature kid coming to college now I’m a man getting ready to graduate,” Rolle said. “All because of him taking the chance coming down to Immokalee, a small town and recruit a kid like myself. I owe him a great deal for the success I’ve had thus far. I love him and he’s a guy I haven’t lost faith in and I still trust in him.” 

Rolle also went on to say that he isn't going to follow the trend of bashing his former teammate Terrelle Pryor, calling him a brother and saying he loves him. Which is probably the right thing to do. Understandably, Pryor has taken a lot of heat in recent days for everything that's gone on during his time in Columbus, but it's really not fair to blame Pryor and Pryor alone. He was one of many Ohio State players over the years who allegedly skirted NCAA rules while at Ohio State, and all under the watch of Tressel and the Ohio State Athletic Department. 

Posted on: May 30, 2011 4:33 pm

VIDEO: Columbus reactions to Tressel resignation

Posted by Adam Jacobi

CBSSports.com was in Columbus today, getting the general consensus from Ohio State students and fans about Jim Tressel's resignation today. 

Obviously, loyalty is important in sports fandom, and OSU is no exception. But one must wonder whether the people praising Tressel's selflessness and doing what's best for the school realize he's only in that position because of instances of greater selfishness and indifference to what's best for the school. This was his mess that he created, then refused to address, after all. But these folks probably don't need to get their noses rubbed in it right now, so their attempts to put a positive spin on the situation can be excused with ease.

Similarly, their desire to see Urban Meyer on the sidelines soon is admirably optimistic, but if Meyer couldn't maintain his health while coaching at Florida, there's no way he would be able to handle Ohio State right now. That's not a knock on his character, but like Florida, Ohio State is a very high-stress job, and his body doesn't handle stress very well. We've seen what coaching does to him. It's not good. But Bob Stoops, though? There's an intriguing name. If there's any best analogue for a powerhouse like OSU replacing a coach amid NCAA sanctions, though, it's USC, so Columbus' expectations might need to get tempered just a wee bit.

Posted on: May 30, 2011 3:54 pm

Jim Tressel resigns; was his tenure 'worth it'?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Any doubt as to whether Ohio State would continue to stand behind its man Jim Tressel through the NCAA investigation was answered today when Tressel announced his immediate resignation from the program. Sure, that's not the same as being fired, but as the Columbus Dispatch reports, that resignation was "encouraged" by Ohio State. The Associate Press' account of the meeting doesn't seem to stray very far from that notion, either.

That departure might be the only thing that saves Ohio State from the worst the NCAA can throw at the Buckeyes. The NCAA's notice of allegations mentions misdeeds by exactly one Ohio State staff member: Tressel. There's also the players' sales of memorabilia and other impermissible benefits received, but that's an eligibility issue, and one that Tressel single-handedly worsened by flagrantly failing to comply with NCAA regulations. If Tressel is removed from the equation, how much punishment does the rest of the OSU athletic department deserve? The way the NCAA's allegations are written, it doesn't appear to be a whole lot.

 So assuming the NCAA doesn't break a bat across the figurative back of the Ohio State football program, considering the entirety of Tressel's tenure in Columbus, will his legacy be overall positive or negative? In other words, would OSU -- or any other school -- do it all over again?

Here are the positives: A 106-22 (66-14) record in one of the most high-profile football conferences in the nation, seven conference championships (either shared or outright), eight BCS bowl game appearances, three BCS National Championship appearances, and one BCS National Championship. Oh, and a 9-1 record against Michigan, a domination that doomed UM coach Lloyd Carr just as much as Tressel's predecessor John Cooper was done in by his ineffectual rivalry record. Few coaches in college history can match a 10-year spree like that. CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy wondered aloud whether Tressel was only good because he cheated; I'm not so sure that causation exists.

The negatives are less numerous, of course, but they're bad. Ohio State's two brightest stars in the Tressel era, Maurice Clarett and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, were both involved in allegations of preferential treatment (Clarett's troubles got much worse, of course, but that's not exactly something to tie back to Tressel). There's a potential situation with Ohio State players and local car dealerships, although there's no allegation (official or otherwise) of any wrongdoing just yet. And then, of course, this, the scandal that just cost Tressel his job. The hand grenade that Tressel had to jump on after he threw it at his players. Lying to the school and to the NCAA about his players' eligibility is, short of major criminal activity or physically endangering his players, just about the worst thing Tressel could have done as a coach. 

The highest of highs. The lowest of lows. The situation's not quite over yet, but what amount of punishment would make Tressel's ten-year tenure not worth it to Ohio State? After all, the entire point of college football is to play for national championships and to beat the living daylights out of your rivals, and Jim Tressel did that in spades. Ohio State's on a streak of seven straight BCS bowl game appearances. Seven. Even if the NCAA hands down a postseason ban of a couple years--and there's not a whole lot about this situation right now that appears to warrant such a ban--is that really enough to put a cloud of shame over the Tressel Era forever? Would no college football fan endure two years' probation for 106-22 in the 10 years prior?

It's not just an idle thought exercise, either. It took Ohio State over five months and the threat of new forthcoming allegations to finally force Tressel out, after all. So that means in OSU's eyes, the stuff that was on that letter of allegations most certainly did not outweigh Tressel's positives. That troubles Gregg Doyel, and it troubles me too. Here's why: if whatever the NCAA throws at Ohio State isn't enough to ruin Jim Tressel's career in the eyes of fans or athletic departments, well, what's to stop this all from happening again and again? 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com